Farmers Markets, I adore you.  Whatever city I am in, however many dollars line my pocket, whatever season it may be, I am faithfully yours.

You’re busy, you’re festive, you bring the community together, and you’re fun.  You’re a chance for hard-working farmers, cooks, bakers, and artisans to sell their goods directly to people, shortening the food chain to the width of a mere handshake.

You persevere through rain and you shine in the sun; if you’re the Steveston Market, you sit on a harbour with the historic Gulf of Georgia Cannery watching over you.  There are kids dancing with reckless abandon to your live music, and happy, hungry bloggers spilling sauce all over their pants while enjoying platefuls of currywurst.

This was my day, those were my pants, and I truly do love a farmers market.  They are a part of my weekly routine, and always one of the greatest ways for me to experience a new city or culture.  During my year in Italy, they were a test of my language skills and my courage, as I made my way through crowds of steadfast nonnas and pointed to foreign-looking greens or finocchie that looked sweet.  The vendors were patient as I got myself sorted, and I would always, always leave with more than I could comfortably carry.  It was a chance to learn what the locals ate (a lot more than parmigiano and prosciutto), and truly participate in the daily life of their community.

The same proved true in Steveston, only placing my orders was so much easier.  In just an hour I ran into two people I’ve met in Richmond, making the city seem  all the more small and friendly.

Just a block away from the heart of town, the Steveston market runs every second week through the summer and offers local produce (hello strawberry season), woodworking, jewelry, handmade soap, jams, freshly baked bread, baked goods, hot lunches, and more.

After noshing on a wood-fired pizza, bratwurst, and a cinnamon bun, we strolled around and picked up goods for later: a loaf of crusty sourdough, freshly-churned butter, carrots, and strawberries, and some signature Steveston tea for my mom.  Crunchy, chewy, sweet, and real, it was all simple and extraordinary.  The bread, butter, and produce came to about $16, with plenty of leftovers.

I’d highly suggest a trip to the Steveston Farmers Market during the summer.  Vendors come from not only Richmond but across the lower mainland, showcasing just how abundant this region is.  It’s the perfect opportunity to support local producers, satisfy your hungry belly, explore the village, and relax.

It’s nice to take some time to relax.